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3arabizi - When Local Arabic Meets Global English

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Author(s): BIANCHI, Robert Michael

Journal: Acta Linguistica Asiatica
ISSN 2232-3317

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 89;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Arabic | English | script | CMC | globalization

ABSTRACT
Arabic is the official language of Jordan. Yet, English is a language of prestige among many upwardly mobile Jordanians. Sakarna (2006) dubs a hybrid language comprised of a mixture of these two languages “Englo-Arabic”. In online contexts, a similar hybrid language has emerged. Often popularly labeled “3arabizi” or “Arabish”, a blended word based on the words “Arabic” and “English”, this mixed code is the most commonly encountered form of language for composing forum messages on the popular Jordanian website, Mahjoob.com (http://www.mahjoob.com). The most striking feature of 3arabizi is that it is written in Latin script and uses arithmographemics i.e. numbers as letters to represent Arabic sounds that do not occur in English. This article presents the key orthographical features of 3arabizi and discusses its topical occurrence when compared to both Arabic and English as observable within a purposive sample of web forum messages collected from Mahjoob.com.
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